Obama offers Moscow missile defense deal for cooperation in Iran

March 3, 2009

(ChattahBox) — The Obama administration is apparently is trying to play let’s make a deal with Russia for some cooperation in stopping Iran from developing long-range weapons, the New York Times reported Tuesday. President Obama allegedly sent a secret letter to Russia’s president Dmitri A. Medvedev last month suggesting that he would back off deploying a new missile defense system in Eastern Europe in exchange for cooperation in Iran, anonymous American officials revealed yesterday.  

It said the United States would not need to proceed with the interceptor system, which has been vehemently opposed by Russia since it was proposed by the Bush administration, if Iran halted any efforts to build nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles. The letter also discussed a strategic arms treaty expiring this year and cooperation in opening supply routes to Afghanistan, among other things.

Moscow will get a chance to respond to the letter, when Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov meets with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton when they meet Friday in Geneva. Mr. Obama and Mr. Medvedev will then meet for the first time on April 2 in London, officials said Monday.

Mr. Obama’s letter, sent in response to one he received from Mr. Medvedev shortly after Mr. Obama’s inauguration, is part of an effort to “press the reset button” on Russian-American relations, as Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. put it last month. The day after Obama’s election,  Medvedev threatened to point missiles at Europe if the system proceeded. Mr. Medvedev later backed off that threat and it seems that Moscow is taking seriously the idea floated in Mr. Obama’s letter. Kommersant, the Moscow newspaper, on Monday called it a “sensational proposal.”


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